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Homework Help: Measurement Scales (Statistics)

  1. May 19, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    In class we have to determine whether something is nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio and with the last 2 (ratio/interval) you have to state if they are discrete or continuous.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Height of Mt Everst above Sea level= interval continuous
    What is your shoe size? - ratio discrete
    What time of day did the red car finish the race? - ratio continuous
    hand span in cm? ratio continuous
    heigh in inches? ratio continuous

    I'm very confused because discrete can only take limited values whereas continuous can take any number of values. I'd appreciate your help greatly. Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2012 #2


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    Hi Cudi1! :smile:

    How can time of day be ratio? :confused:

    As to discrete and continuous, according to unesco at http://www.unesco.org/webworld/idams/advguide/Chapt1_3.htm [Broken] all interval and ratio measurements are continuous. :confused:

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_measurement, although good, doesn't help on this issue)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. May 21, 2012 #3
    Thanks for your answer tiny- tim, the way I think about discrete is that it has limited values and gaps in between those values ( like shoe size). Discrete can have decimal places . Whereas, in continuous you can have a unlimited values. Is it right for me to say that if I can take any 2 numbers and get a number in between that it's continuous? For example, taking time for instance I can say its 3:01 or 3:02 and any time in between I can get, so therefore it would be continuous.

    To be honest , I discussed with my friend and he said time of day can't be ratio continous cause time is used as a reference point, rather its interval continuous. Could you explain how it is though?
  5. May 21, 2012 #4
    As well, do the others look correct? I understand time of day is incorrect but don't know why:s . thanks
  6. May 22, 2012 #5


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    Hi Cudi1! :smile:
    my understanding from the above unesco link is that "continuous" includes measurements that are rounded

    eg that we measure height to the nearest cm, or age to the nearest year, but that's still continuous (we can't measure anything exactly, can we? o:))

    when "discrete" refers to numbers, it means numbers that are not quantitative measurements, such as the uneven age groups 1 to 5 in the link

    i think :redface:
    finishing the race at 2 o'clock isn't twice as anything as finishing the race at 1 o'clock …

    the ratio is irrelevant, since it depends when you start the clock …

    so this isn't ratio

    (the time to complete the course, from start to finish, would be ratio)
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